Letters to the Editor 6-2-14


Last fall, state Sen. Randy Gardner hosted a meeting at Penta Career Center for northwestern Ohio superintendents, treasurers and board members to discuss growing concerns about the negative impact of recently passed state laws on school operations.
The meeting featured not only local school leaders, but representatives from all of the major educational organizations were also present.
During that meeting, concerns ranging from the new cumbersome teacher evaluation system to the Third Grade Reading Guarantee were discussed as well as possible remedies. In addition, leaders asked that planned online assessments be delayed until there was assurance that the infrastructure was ready for full implementation. Sen. Gardner made no promises on an eventual outcome, but he did pledge action.
Some positive changes were made to the credentialing of staff who serve students retained under the provisions of the Third Grade Reading Guarantee as well as SB 229, which made common sense changes to the current teacher evaluation system. What makes SB 229 a rarity in American politics is that it was truly a bipartisan bill that was supported unanimously in the Ohio Senate. Sadly, the bill was overhauled in the Ohio House, and many ideas generated by a broad spectrum of stakeholders were cast aside.
On May 20, the Ohio Senate once again showed leadership under Education Chair Peggy Lehner and reinstated SB 229 into the Mid-Biennial Review bill, also known as HB 487. In addition, they made important alterations that are widely supported by educational leaders in the state of Ohio. Many of these changes are reasonable provisions that keep good programs or policies in place and make changes where needed. HB 487 now must go to a conference committee, where the fate of these important and sensible changes hangs in the balance.
We strongly urge members of the Ohio House to accept the bipartisan changes added by the Ohio Senate, and move them to Gov. Kasich for approval. Provisions will also give districts an option to use paper/pencil assessments for 2014-15 instead of online assessments. These changes will allow teachers and administrators to focus more time where it belongs, and that is toward the boys and girls of Ohio.
As superintendents in northwestern Ohio, we stand committed to improving teaching and learning, and we ask Ohioans to contact their representatives to support bipartisan legislation that will help us accomplish our mission.
Suzanne Darmer, Greg Denecker, Robert Hlasko, Tim Myers, Laurie Walles, Kevin Haught, Jim Kanable, Meri Skilliter, Rodney Russell and other area school superintendents

We all have our favorite sins.
I remember as a young boy going to Catholic confession trying to conjure up some sins to confess. I was obviously too young to commit some sins like adultery, although I was smitten with a puppy love for a girl that lingered for both of us, even after 50 years, when reconnecting at her class reunion.
What I managed to remember best about my sins, was the story of the Seven Dwarfs. I was always Grumpy, when complaining about doing household chores.
“What else do you do?” asked the priest, who was obviously bored after listening to my same confessions, and was who looking for some truly original sins. I finally reported in desperation, that I was proud of my humility.
“Proud of humility? Now that’s original, all right,” he asked, after recovering slowly from his surprise. “Tell me, how do you manage that?”
“I don’t, Father, and that’s why I hoped it might be one of those original sins you are looking for.”
“Actually, my son, self-righteousness is the most common and least reported sin there is, and is deserving of some unusual penance.”
I was fearful that he was going to throw the book at me, like saying the rosary or doing the dishes every day for a year.
Instead he said: “I want you to read the comics every day for the rest of your life. You will find yourself in some of the comics and it is a great nose-lowering experience which results in true humility. You will also realize that you can’t grow spiritually in your private elevator of ‘self-righteousness.’
“We can see both ourselves and neighbors in the comics, who need mutual support and understanding without making final judgments.”
The rest of the story is that the priest, Father John Litzow, became a lifelong friend, whose favorite comic was Peanuts, and if alive today, I sense would also include Pickles.
Tom Murphy

I want to thank Christians for finally taking up for their rights. We have the right to say what is right and what is wrong.
There are people who think Christians are bigots and hate people because they tell the truth. True Christians don’t hate anyone, they just hate the sin that some people are living in.
I also want to thank Jim Snyder and Bruce Haynes (letters, May 15) for putting Terry Cook and Don Iliff in their places. They think they know everything, and really don’t know too much.
A smart person doesn’t have to show or tell how smart they are. If a person is smart it will show.
I see that Cook knows more than the experts. Time will tell.
Bill Smith


About the Author